According to a report, an additional million people may lose their lives to hunger due to the quick increase in fertilizer prices caused by the Ukraine conflict.
Based on their findings, experts from the Universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and Rutgers University have concluded that rising global costs for fertilizer might cause the deaths of an additional million people.
As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, there has been a severe problem in the global supply chain for both grains and fertilizers, raising concerns that many fragile nations might be driven to the brink of hunger due to these shortages.
While it was speculated that the sudden withdrawal of Ukrainian grain from the global market would cause the most havoc due to the country’s historical role in providing a sizable portion of the world’s grain supply, researchers have found that the rising price of fertilizer is putting more people at risk.
The study found that if the price of fertilizer keeps going up, as it has been doing recently, about 100 million people might go hungry since these substances are required for the production of high yields in contemporary farming. Based on the models’ projections, food prices might increase by as much as 81% in 2019 compared to their 2021 levels.
The researchers estimate that for every percentage point increase in food prices, an additional 100,000 people will die worldwide.
Researchers note that such price hikes would affect individuals everywhere, but they issue a special warning to the world’s poor, where the majority of additional fatalities are predicted to occur.
It has been estimated that by 2030, the globe will require an extra area of farmland larger than Western Europe to meet the demand for food if current trends continue due to a scarcity of fertilizer.
Dr. Peter Alexander from the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh expressed concern that “this might be the end of an age of inexpensive food.” While most individuals will notice a difference in their weekly grocery budget, those already struggling to put food on the table may feel the pinch the most.
To paraphrase what he said, “More has to be done to break the relationship between increasing food costs and harm to human health and the environment.”
The idea that the rising cost of fertilizer might threaten agricultural production is not new. Still, the researcher’s assessment of the percentage of hazards affecting the world food supply does seem novel.
Experts at all levels of the global food trade have warned of the terrible implications of increasing fertilizer costs since Russia deployed tanks across the Ukrainian border last year, with many of the critical components of such modern fertilizers coming from Russia and Ukraine.
“Fertilizers are responsible for feeding half the world’s population… Svein Tore Holsether, a prominent figure in the fertilizer industry, said in March of last year that without it, the production of certain crops might plummet by as much as 50%.
It’s not a matter of “whether” we’ll enter a worldwide food crisis, he said, but “how huge” it will be.
While David Beasley, the head of the UN World Food Programme, has previously warned of the tremendous destabilizing consequences that failed supplies may have on vulnerable nations, this is not the first time he has made such a statement.
He warned that if “a few more billion dollars” weren’t provided in 2022, “famine, instability, and mass exodus” would result.
In his words, “If you think we’ve had Hell on earth now, you just get ready,” the ex-Republican governor of South Carolina warned his state’s residents. If we disregard northern Africa, it will invade Europe. As the saying goes, “If we ignore the Middle East, the Middle East will come to Europe.”